The gauntlet has been thrown.
The Somerville Public Library is officially in a showdown with Lexington, Arlington and Belmont, and as Somerville's library director, Maria Carpenter, said, "We are fiercely competitive."
The challenge is to see which community can increase its new library card registration the most in February (percentage increase this February, compared to February 2012).
“When I started as library director in April of 2012,” said Arlington's Robbins Library Director Ryan Livergood, “one of the things I wanted to do was get out in our community and remind people of the value of a library card.”
Belmont’s library director, Maureen Conners and Lexington’s Koren Stembridge joined Carpenter and Livergood Jan. 31 at a press conference in Arlington, where the stakes were laid out:
The winning library will receive a platter of baked goods from the losing communities’ favorite local bakeries. Also, Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine and Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone have made a side bet, with the winner getting treated to lunch at his favorite local restaurant.
The visiting directors said they’re up for the challenge.
“I hate to burst your bubbles, but we can’t wait for the cookies,” Conners said.
“I want to wish Belmont, Lexington and Somerville the best of luck,” Livergood said, “but not too much luck, because we intend to win here in Arlington.”
Livergood also spoke about the importance of library cards in general.
“I believe a library card is a golden ticket to one of the most magical places on Earth – the library,” he said. “It’s the one place where everyone in our community, regardless of their background, regardless of their circumstances, they can come in, and they’re empowered to better their lives … in both big ways and small ways.”
Carpenter said, "The library card, we believe, is the free ticket ... to go out and build your life and be succesful."